I'm a Cold War Kid myself, but it's hard to wrap my head around how all-encompassing the nuclear arms race was to people in my parents' generation. Huge resources were spent preparing for a worldwide nuclear war that never came, including in planning how to feed survivors:
In 1955, Eisenhower’s Federal Civil Defense Administration launched a propaganda campaign they called “Grandma’s Pantry,” calling for each household to have ready a seven-day supply of food and water for an attack.
The purpose of the food was completely, utterly utilitarian, ironically parroting the very Soviet philosophy we were fighting against:
The requirements were stark: America’s Armageddon ration needed to be nutritious, cheap, easy to eat, shelf-stable, and reproducible at mass scale. Taste, visual appeal, quality, packaging, and all the other attributes that normally come with designing a successful, mass-produced consumer good would be discarded in favor of the simplest food the government could design.
The USDA eventually landed on crackers as the best medium for bulgur-wheat rations in a bunker scenario; after 52 months of storage it reported merely a “discernible but inconsequential decrease” in flavor.
States like my own put their own spin on preparations:
...in Kansas, officials calculated they could probably provide two million pounds of food after an attack, and that if survivors reduced consumption to an “austerity diet” of 2,000 calories, the state’s food stocks could last nearly two months. Besides the official stocks, Kansas’s wildlife could help too: Its forests, plains, and waters contained, officials believed, 11 million “man-days” of food — the amount of food needed to feed an adult for one day — in rabbit meat, 10 million man-days of wild birds, five million man-days of edible fish, and nearly 20 million man-days of meat in residential pets. After an attack, officials also planned to confiscate household vitamins for the good of the general population and ration carefully the state’s 28-day supply of coffee. Everything would be fine.
2,000 calories a day was "austerity." Huh. That residential pet diet sounds delicious, though.
Alas, the stored crackers didn't stand the test of time:
Later that year , the U.S. exhumed 20 tons of crackers — hidden in an old streetcar tunnel under Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. that had been used since the Cuban Missile Crisis to store civil defense supplies — and shipped them to Bangladesh to feed survivors of a monsoon there. Other cracker caches were dispatched to Guatemala to aid victims of a devastating 1976 earthquake. The recipients of the disaster food reported developing what one newspaper described as “severe gastric disturbances” after ingesting the biscuits. As those reports trickled back to the U.S., officials across the country wondered just what they’d stocked away for a nuclear apocalypse. In mid-1976, E. Erie Jones, the Illinois state emergency coordinator, convened a group in his shag-carpeted office in Springfield for a taste test; it didn’t even start well. The mere smell from the newly opened tin caused coughing fits. He took a single bite, grimaced, then canceled the rest of the experiment. In reporting the taste test gone wrong, the Chicago Tribune declared that the “Survival biscuits [would be] better as weapons” than food if a war did unfold.
And that's how it seems to end. Instead of trying to feed survivors, the current thinking (doomsday preppers aside) is that a nuclear war would simply kill so many of us that planning on feeding anyone is presumptuous.
Cronise, Bremer, and Sinclair propose what they call the “Metabolic Winter” hypothesis: that obesity is only in small part due to lack of exercise, and mostly due to a combination of chronic overnutrition and chronic warmth. Seven million years of human evolution were dominated by two challenges: food scarcity and cold. “In the last 0.9 inches of our evolutionary mile,” they write, pointing to the fundamental lifestyle changes brought about by refrigeration and modern transportation, “we solved them both.” Other species don’t exhibit nearly as much obesity and chronic disease as we warm, overfed humans and our pets do. “Maybe our problem,” they continue, “is that winter never comes.”
See also: Is keeping offices cold sexist?